Art as activism: Vegan artists to follow on Instagram

Vegan artists are activating empathy and outrage through their art. Utilising meme culture to satirise and expose the exploitative animal industry, drawing out the vulnerabilities and sentience of nature, and reminding us of our responsibilities to care for our animal family.

Here are a few vegan artists to check out and share: 

Dina Farris Appel 

Even the title of Dina Farris Appel’s painting “Not Your Mum, Not Your Milk” successfully prosecutes our guilt in stealing another's precious lifeforce. Most adults wouldn’t fancy human milk in tea, so it seems odd to accept milk from udders in so many walks of human life. 

Appel’s Instagram provides vegan and environmental art and insights into art materials that are not vegan: “Some coloured pencils have beeswax, and Crayola crayons have animal products in them.” Were you aware of paint brushes made with animal hair, paints containing charred animal bones, and gelatin within certain paper types? Definitely one to follow and you can order her artwork via her Etsy shop too.

Choice Bison

Choice Bison was commissioned to create a vegan mural in Brooklyn, “Killing Animals is Killing Us All: Go Vegan”, bringing to attention the inhumane slaughterhouse conditions both animals and employees inhabit. This painting is more honest than any advert, or cookery show encouraging meat consumption. “It’s time to question the sanity in normalcy - especially when it comes to our relationships with animals,” says Bison. 

From larger-than-life murals, and political activist art, to tiny exhibitions, Bison is also a sought-after tattoo artist

Barbara Daniels

Barbara Daniels is renowned for reversing the roles that humans and animals play in modern day society in order to raise awareness, and gain empathy, by reimagining the world from an animal’s perspective as an artistic focus. Barbara states, “The goal of my art is not to preach about what’s right or wrong, but simply to hold a mirror up to humanity and imagine life from the perspective of the many species dominated by the human race.” And we have to say, Barbara achieves this poignantly. Her latest art book, ‘Dominion over Man’ is out now.

Chantal Poulin Durocher

Canadian artist Chantal Poulin Durocher not only rescues dogs in Panama but has mastered capturing sentience through painting. After classical art training at the Mission Renaissance Fine Art Institute, Chantal Poulin Durocher has crafted a unique fusion of classical and contemporary work. Committed to more than a “mere pictorial research or the aesthetic goal.” Her piece We Are The Same perfectly demonstrates how imagery speaks louder than words: superimposing human and cow - breaking our dissociation with nature. Using fine lines echoes our detailed and sensitive symbiosis with nature. 

Chantal Poulin Durocher recognises the influence art has on our senses: “I really feel I have a little mission, to show the beauty, the sensibility, the similarity and the vulnerability of the animals through my art.”

Jo Frederiks

Animal rights activist Jo Frederiks punches through with hard-hitting narratives of atrocities in animal agriculture. Frederiks uses graphite and oil paint to use storytelling techniques by subverting the familiar, such as reframing the famous Uncle Sam’s “We Need You!” poster proclaiming I Want You to Stop in her piece Stop the Insanity. Her art forces us to look at our culture of hypocrisy with paintings such as “Why Love One and Kill the Other?” Whereby severed farm animal heads lay on a barbeque alongside domestic animal heads.  

In a candid interview with Vegan Origo, Frederiks shares how going vegan changed her precarious relationship with food: “Becoming vegan shifted my focus from being very self-absorbed about my body and how much I could or couldn't eat, to an entirely different viewpoint - animal liberation - it was no longer all about me.”  

Activist art, whether via murals, posters, tattoos, prints or sculpture, elicits questions around topics that can sometimes be hard to engage with through conversation alone.

If you have a favourite vegan artist who challenges and inspires let us know on Instagram or Twitter, we’d love to hear from you! For more alternative activism approaches, check out vegan literature as a form of activism.

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